Hopefully the new year will open a new chapter in our goat relations as we are planning to breed the girls and build a family. This could be a complicated proceedure because at the moment we have no billy and will have to seek out the expertise of neighbours as to the courting rituals that need to be observed if one is to raise a successful herd of goats. In the meantime the girls are getting sleek and fat, ever more curious and adventurous. We are getting quite attached to our horned friends, though like children, they can be quite demanding and mischievious, especially when they know treats are available.
|Toffee tests soundness of walls|
We have also discovered the hidden aspects of animal husbandry in the small but persistent attentions that animals need. Though there is little we can do to save the girls from the attention of leeches which often manifest on bloody forelimbs or rumps, it seems that the safe life of living in a paddock has other ramifications for domesticated animals. Goats have very active keratin producers and thus grow toenails at an alarming rate. In the wild this poses no problems as they are constantly clambering on rocks and other hard surfaces that serve to wear down nails and keep them at servicable lengths. In a paddock however, the soft footing allows these nails to grow long and luxuriant. This would be all very well if you didn't have to walk on said nails which have a nasty tendancy to curl under the hoof and not only cause discomfort but make footing more difficult.
And so the goats settle in; a curiosity for visitors and a conversation topic for we as small animal husbanders; and breeding season comes closer.